National Park Service firefighters recently completed a prescribed burn in the Giant Forest area. Expect some smoke and flame to be visible intermittently from the Generals Highway. Prescribed fires promote the regeneration of giant sequoias by creating openings in the canopy, clearing the forest floor, and opening sequoia cones, which allows their seeds to disperse.
Smoke associated with the Briceburg Fire north of the parks was reported in the Grant Grove area. Air quality monitors in the area registering changing air quality conditions.
Some park roads remain under construction. The Mineral King Road is closing October 30 at noon. The road to Cedar Grove will close Tuesday, November 12 at noon.
Some campgrounds in these parks are closing later or earlier than previously scheduled: Foothills
Buckeye Flat Campground: All sites close on Wednesday, October 23 at noon. Cedar Grove
Sentinel Campground: All sites close Tuesday, November 12 at noon.
Sheep Creek Campground: All sites close Wednesday, September 4 at noon.
Moraine Campground: Sites 01-46 and 51-68 close Wednesday, September 4 at noon. All other sites close Wednesday, October 16 at noon.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are now in effect, due to the increased risk of fire as we enter the hottest and driest part of the year. While restrictions are in effect, wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in Hospital Rock and Ash Mountain Picnic Areas, South Fork Campground, and in wilderness areas below 6,000 feet. Smoking is prohibited below 6,000 feet except in enclosed vehicles, permitted campgrounds, and designated smoking areas.
Road construction along sections of the Generals Highway is underway. Construction will take place from the Highway 180 junction to Little Baldy Saddle. All national park and US Forest Service areas and local facilities will remain open. However, there will be driving delays of up to one hour to allow cars to pass through the one-lane construction zone. For more information, visit the road construction web page.
Use caution when recreating near rivers. Strong currents often run under apparently calm water, and rocks are extremely slippery and lead to injuries. Creek crossings along trails can be unstable; If you're unsure if it's safe to cross, turn back.
The Zumwalt Meadow Trail loop in Cedar Grove is partially closed due to damage from flooding.
In the Foothills, acorns are beginning to fall from oak trees and animals are especially active as they gather foods before winter. To protect wildlife and avoid vehicle damage, slow down on park roads. Ticks and rattlesnakes may still be encountered on hiking trails. Poison oak is also located along trails and may not be easy to identify as it begins to drop its leaves. Visit our Safety web page for additional safety considerations in our parks.
Because of the extreme elevation range in these parks, weather conditions vary widely between areas.
In summer, the sequoia groves have comfortable temperatures and the foothills are hot and dry. Snow lingers on high-mountain passes well into summer.
In fall, some areas close or reduce their hours. Winter brings snow to sequoia groves and rain to the foothills. Be prepared for tire chain requirements.
Spring is a great time to hike in the foothills and snow begins to melt at higher elevations.